Sunday Summations, The I Have a Dream edition

I have a dream.

I have a dream of the greatest day in a college sports lovers life. A dream that is not an unattainable dream. A dream that we, as college sports lovers, can all share. And it goes a little something like this...

I have a dream that I wake up, walk out my front door and go next door to eat the greatest breakfast known to man at Louie's on State Street in Baton Rouge.

Then, I walk another address down and I see the greatest Georgetown-North Carolina basketball game that DIDN'T involve a pass to the opposite team to decide the game. And it is decided in overtime.

Then, I leave that game and I walk to another arena that looks an awful like the Pepsi Center in Denver and see conference rivals Minnesota and North Dakota decide a berth in hockey's Frozen Four with another wicked-awesome overtime thriller. The Fighting Sioux, with their anti-NCAA mascot, logo and attitude, pull out the win on a wrap-around goal, 3-2.

Then, I leave that game and go eat incredibly delectable cajun food and drink a wide array of international beers at The Chimes at the gates of LSU.

After stuffing my gut, I go to Dedeaux Field, which, quite strangely, is within walking distance of The Chimes, and I see Arizona State and USC play the best baseball game I've seen all year, full of grand slams, last inning lead changes and Freshman phenoms.

Then I go to Gold's Gym in Venice Beach and do the cardio machine right next to John Lithgow. (Oooh, a "brush with greatness" Mr. Letterman).

Finally, I end up at home playing chase-the-ball with my dog.

THAT'S my dream day. That's quite possibly the perfect day in all of life.

Okay, I'll let you in on a little secret... about half of that dream you just read is true and actually happened today. The other half is embellished fantasy of a perfect world. I'll leave it up to you to guess which parts are real. But I'll give you a hint... the basketball and hockey games are what I either saw highlights of or watched after the fact on TiVo. The food?... that's truly a dream.

Still, if a smokey, scantilly-clad vision of "I Dream of Jeannie" came to me and asked me what I wanted, that would be the perfect college sports world for me.


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What I saw at Dedeaux Field today:
Arizona State - 13
USC - 14

This game was freakin' nuts. If you read my blog from the game, you already know. In a nutshell - USC was just three outs away from an already crazy 12-11 game and brought in ace reliever Paul Koss (who has 11 saves on the season already). That strategy lasted one pitch as ASU's Brett Wallace sent a moon shot over the center field wall to tie the game.

Then, pinch hitter Rocky Laguna, who seems to have been at ASU since the Winkles era, came up huge with the go-ahead RBI single two batters later.

So with the 13-12 lead, ASU goes to the bottom of the 9th needing just three outs themselves to douse the USC hopes. Pat Murphy brings out newly-instated freshman stud Jason Jarvis. who's hype is nonpareil in college baseball circles.

Jarvis quickly gets a strikeout, a groundout and then two strikes on pinch hitter Derek Perron. But Perron muscles out a bleeder single up the middle. Then, strapping slugger Lucas Duda, who hit a grand salami in the 8-run 6th inning for the Trojans, launches a screamer over the right field wall amidst the screaming crowd and teammates.

That makes the score 14-13, SC and sets off a wild celebration, while also helping the Men of Troy avoid the weekend sweep. In the words of Frank Zappa, Great-Googily-Mooley!

THAT was a great game. Okay, so it lasted four hours, big deal. I had a blast out there watching the drama unfold inning after inning. With the win, USC improves to 17-12 and ASU falls to 21-8.

Duda ended up 3-for-6 with six RBI and two home runs. On the Devils side, Brett Wallace was literally unstoppable, going 4-for-4 with two walks and two home runs.

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Now some notes on what transpired in college baseball today.


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The Not ready for prime-time players---
These teams came in with high hopes, or more specifically, glossy records. They left with a bruise or two on their weekend report cards.

- Marshall
Entered the weekend: 14-5
Result: 0-3 vs. Tulane
Three losses to the Green Wave, including today's awful 9-0 stinker. Wave starter Brandon Gomes gave up five hits and struck out 12.

- Memphis
Entered the weekend: 14-6
Result: 0-3 at East Carolina
Had similar confidence as the Herd, but went home with their tails between their legs losing three at East Carolina by a combined 35-11.

- Wofford
Entered the weekend: 16-6
Result: 0-3 at Appalachian State
I've received some Emails from Terrier fans, but they lost all three at Appy State, including today's 10-9 heartbreaker which included seven walks and five hit batsmen.

- VMI
Entered the weekend: 17-4
Result: 0-3 at Winthrop
Ouch! For a team that came in with wins at Florida, Auburn and Old Dominion, this weekend's three-game sweep at the hands of the BSC kingpin is painful.

- Auburn
Entered the weekend: 18-6
Result: 0-3 vs. Florida
Tigers have some good players and good fortune (vs. Arizona State), but reality has set in with six straight losses at Georgia and vs. Florida, two of the weaker SEC teams.

- Southern Mississippi
Entered the weekend: 16-6
Result: 1-2 vs. Rice
USM has a few nice Ws to its resume, including Friday's 9-3 beatdown of Rice. But today, the Eagles lost the series rubber-match with an 18-5 woodshed job.

- San Jose State
Entered the weekend: 15-8
Result: 1-2 vs. New Mexico State
The 'pen has been a big problem for the Spartans this year. Today, they let a 5-2 lead with six outs to go evaporate against a not-so-good Aggie team.

- Florida Atlantic
Entered the weekend: 18-7
Result: 0-3 at Louisiana-Lafayette
Okay, I realize this is a tough assignment for anybody, but the Owls needed a rebound after losing all three to Troy at home last week. Today's 3-2 loss was from a bases-loaded walk in the 9th.

- Western Carolina
Entered the weekend: 14-7
Result: 0-3 at College of Charleston
Baseball America did a nice "under the radar" feature on them Friday. Must've been the kiss of death as the Catamounts couldn't mount a W. Two losses came by one run.

- Washington State
Entered the weekend: 13-7
Result: 0-3 vs. Washington
Though it was non-conference play, losing three to your rival, who isn't a world-beater to begin with, doesn't bode well for a team with high hopes like the Coogs.


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Ready for their close-up Mr. DeMille---

- Missouri
Entered the weekend: 18-5
Result: 2-1 at Nebraska
Sure today's mercy-ruled 16-1 loss was ugly, but Mizzou won a pair of thrillers on the road, 5-1 (11inns) and 4-3. Youth be damned, the Tigers should get a look-see at the rankings.

- Oklahoma
Entered the weekend: 18-6
Result: 2-1 vs. Texas A&M
Sooners rallied today with four in the 8th, all off of Aggie Friday ace Jason Meyer, and then an Aaron Baker RBI single. That dude is playing well-above his Frosh status.

- San Diego
Entered the weekend: 19-9
Result: 2-1 at UNLV
This isn't Earth-shattering, but I still feel like the Toreros are horribly under-ranked. I mean, let's see ANY of those Top 10ers go to UNLV and come out ahead. Hell, let's see them go TO Texas and win two-of-three! Okay, I'll take three deep breaths.

- Florida
Entered the weekend: 11-13
Result: 3-0 at Auburn
Probably the most stunning sweep in the country. But the inconsistent Gators had the bats going all weekend, getting double-digit hit totals each game. Question is, can they come all the way back and make a ripple in the SEC?


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Revenge by suffocation---
These teams got huge revenge today and did it by choking their opponents off at the plate.

- Stanford
Saturday: lost to Sacramento State, 6-0
Today: beat Sac State 10-0
Nolan Gallagher throws a complete game four-hitter to avenge a stunning shut-out loss to the Hornets on Saturday. I know I was at the San Jose basketball regional that day, but when I saw that score on my computer, I nearly spilled my media-issue portion of caviar and fine, sparkling Bordeaux I was sharing with the Swedish girls skiing team.

- Albany
Saturday: Lost at Western Kentucky 21-8
Today: beat WKU 7-0
Casey Walsh and Sean Gregory combine on a 6-hitter, all of which were singles. All this despite the fact that seven Hilltopper hitters had come in with .300+ averages.

- UC Santa Barbara
Saturday: Lost at Pepperdine 16-1
Today: beat PU 7-0
The Gauchos score all seven runs in the 2nd inning, saddling hot prospect Brett Hunter with six runs in 1.1 innings of work. Despite a lot of chipping away, Chris Fox got the biggest hit, a two-run single.

- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Saturday: Lost at Sam Houston State 17-6
Today: won at SHSU 2-0
Matt Wilson and Trey Maldanado combine on a five-hitter with eight Ks to avenge the horrid performance on Saturday. TAM-CC is new to the Southland and should be able to make a serious run at the post-season.


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Best game of the day (besides the one I was at)---
Cal State Fullerton - 7
Long Beach State - 5
In addition to the fact that this is a great rivalry in the college baseball landscape, this is another storied game between the two. The Titans were up against it, down to their last out and everything, but put a 4-spot on the board in the 9th inning, thanks to 2-RBI singles from seldom-used pinch hitter Matt Fahey and lead-off man Clark Hardman. This was CSUF's 9th win in the last 10 meetings against their rivals.

Comments

That Washington-Washington State series WAS a Pac-10 Conference series, just as ASU-USC was ... those were the first two (and only, so far) Pac-10 series of the season.

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert